Ke Kula o’ Pi’ilani School of Maui, surrounded by the beauty of ‘Īao Valley, is a rare treasure in the community. The independent, nonprofit Hawaiian language school, founded in 2016, is located on the Hawai’i Nature Center campus. Ke Kula o’ Pi’ilani is the only school in the state to offer a curriculum of Hawaiian language, culture, and a common core grading system created entirely by the kumu (teacher).
“Our goal is to ensure our students can be successful in anything they choose to be in the future because of the solid and well-rounded Hawaiian culture and language foundation that connects them to each other and to these lands,” said Kahu Kekai Robinson, Po’o Kula (Head of School). “Wailuku has historically been a hub for literacy and education , and we are doing our small part to honor and continue that here in the heart of ‘Īao Valley.”
The schools current program, a COVID-19 hybrid 20 percent online, 80 percent on-campus schedule with a shortened school day, supports 20 keiki in grades kindergarten through grade four, with the hope to accommodate twice that number of students in the coming years. Beginning next year, the school will add a fifth grade to accommodate the graduating fourth graders. “We strive to inspire a lifelong love of learning by cultivating an enriching environment in which diverse students grow to be united, confident, and globally competitive servant-leaders who think critically and creatively to contribute to the betterment of Maui, Hawai’i, and the world,” said Robinson.
Kumu Kehani Guerrero, Po’okumu Lead Teacher & Curriculum Director, explained, “Our curriculum is supplemented by Hawaiian practitioners in the classroom to leverage community resources and provide real-life cultural experiences. Alongside the Hawaiian cultural enrichment classes, we are able to contextualize the hands-on work into lessons in math, science, reading, writing, and art. Ka Piko Kaiao (family classes) are also designed to integrate with the school curriculum to enable family members to learn alongside the students and extend their education into the home. We hope to offer our Hawaiian language and cultural courses to the community in the 2020-21 school year.”
Kealohi Shimada, Ke Kula ‘o Pi’ilani, 4th Grade
We get to use what we learn from being outdoors in this beautiful valley and connect it to all our studies. Plus, we learn Hawaiian culture, language, history, and values. We love this school!